Saturday, March 29, 2008

Merman Mythology

In Greek mythology, mermen were often illustrated to have green seaweed-like hair, a beard and a trident. In Irish mythology, mermen are described as extremely ugly creatures with pointed green teeth, pig-like eyes, green hair and a red nose. In Finnish mythology, a merman (vetehinen) is often potrayed as a magical, powerful, handsome, bearded man with the tail of a fish. He can cure illnesses, lift curses and brew potions, but he can also cause unintended harm by becoming too curious about human life. (Taken from:

The actions and behavior of mermen can vary wildly depending on the source and time period of the stories. They have been said to sink ships by summoning great storms, but also said to be wise teachers, according to earlier mythology. A merman, like a mermaid, attracts humans with singing an tones.

Mermen are rarely seen marrying human women; when this happens the merman's new bride becomes a mermaid. After parenting other mermaids or mermen the new mermaid may feel homesick for her family and friends and demand to be set free, after which the merman would have to find another bride. Matthew Arnold's poem "The Forsaken Merman" is based on this imagined situation.

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